Download production quality footage of Brown’s questions HERE.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – While questioning an expert witness before the Senate Finance Committee today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) outlined how the updated Senate Republican tax reform proposal would increase health insurance costs on Ohio families to provide a tax cut to multinational corporations, including those that send U.S. jobs overseas. In fact, after Senate Republicans slipped a last minute provision into the tax bill to unravel the Affordable Care Act late last night, Ohioans would now end up owing more money in increased insurance premiums than they would get in tax cuts under the bill. (WATCH)
Brown also questioned the witness about what the billions of dollars being taken away from health insurance subsidies would be used to pay for. The expert confirmed the money is used to pay for tax cuts for corporations in the bill – including those who send jobs overseas. An expert tax witness confirmed to Brown yesterday that the current tax bill encourages corporations to send jobs overseas.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the tax bill would:
Complete transcript of Brown’s questions at today’s hearing follows below.
$338 billion is being taken away from American families to help cut taxes for corporations:
Brown: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the provision slipped into this bill last night to dismantle the Affordable Care Act would kick 13 million Americans off of their health insurance. 13 million Americans. We all have health insurance provided by taxpayers. Thank you. But it’s okay to kick 13 million Americans off their health insurance and cause premiums to rise by 10 percent. That's what CBO says.
What is taking health insurance away from millions of Americans and raising the costs for others have to do with tax reform?
The CBO says taking away the subsidies that help American families buy health insurance will save $338 billion. So my question, Mr. Carasso, for you is what is that $338 billion going to pay for in this bill?
Carasso: Well, Senator, I think it's difficult to attribute that $338 billion as a pay for to any particular item. Arguably it pays to cover up the other deficits in the bill.
Brown: Okay. So increase -- got it. What's the largest cost of this bill? The majority of money spent in this bill is for tax cuts for corporations, right?
Carasso: As we understand it, yes.
Brown: You've got to figure that some of that $338 billion is going to go to more tax cuts for corporations. It would stand to reason that the $338 billion that’s being taken away from American families to help them pay for health insurance is being used to help them pay for tax cuts for big companies.
As we learned yesterday, these are some of the very same multinational corporations that are rewarded in this bill, in this tax bill, they get tax breaks to shut down production in Mansfield, Ohio, and Lima, Ohio, and Cincinnati, Ohio to move overseas, set up production there and sell back in the United States.
So the beneficiaries of this provision on the 338 billion are again going to be the same corporations that are being rewarded for sending American jobs overseas.
Ohio families will pay more in increased healthcare premiums than they get under the GOP tax bill:
Brown: We now know this bill will cause, according to CBO, will cause health insurance premiums to go up 10%. For many families, that's a lot of money. So my next question, Mr. Carasso, is based on the best information available: what's the average tax cut for a tax filer earning between $40-60,000 a year?
Carasso: It's about $630 according to numbers from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.
Brown: That's all tax filers, correct?
Carasso: That’s all tax filers. I should say that's a net figure. That also includes those households that see tax increases.
Brown: That means the average tax cut for a family of four in Akron, Ohio or Youngstown, Ohio, or Gallipolis, Ohio earning $60,000 a year, the average tax cut would be $630, correct?
Brown: For tax filers earning a little bit less, $24-40,000, what is their expected tax cut under this bill?
Carasso: About $340. Again this is from the ITEP analysis.
Brown: That would include an individual in Ohio filing alone earning $25,000 a year, they would get about $340?
Brown: Here's the problem. According to the Joint Economic Committee, a 27-year-old in Ohio earning about $25,000 a year would see their health insurance premiums increase by $395 a year. They get $340 in tax cuts.
But paying $395 more for health insurance, they're $55 in the hole. So what they did last night by inserting this health care repeal, not only are they costing 13 million Americans their health insurance, those that keep insurance are seeing their costs totally wipe away. They're generally not very generous compared to what corporations –the tax breaks that they get.
You said a family of four earning $60,000 a year could expect a tax cut of $630. The Joint Economic Committee says that same family is going to pay $1,431 a year in health insurance premiums under this bill. So they're $800 in the hole.
If you want to cut taxes for the middle class, why don't you cut taxes for the middle class?